Bleak Theology A post-punk counterweight to joy.

Thoughts against a Birthday’s End


(This was written last night, just before midnight.) There is a little time tonight before Kierkegaard’s birthday passes for another year. I hoped to finish The Present Age on the train home, but I left my battered copy on my office desk. I’m surprised how upset I was about it, especially since I had dragged my feet on completing it. Sometimes, it takes me awhile to get through his stuff. Everything I read I heavily annotate. It’s slow, thorough going. I may read a passage three times before I write my marginalia and move on.


It’s strange having a son named Søren, who is now closing in on two years of age. Especially on days when I’m thinking about Kierkegaard a lot. He’s certainly not Kierkegaard and who’s to know what kind of person he will become? That’s his own choice. I’m very Kierkegaardian about that. He will have to determine his own way, deliberately, anxiously. We can only offer and instill within him the instruments and support to become well. Recently, I hear my father’s intonation or word choice in my voice. Becoming a father is rewarding, though arduous. Moments of reflection can be overwhelming.


I recently finished The Paris Review, Issue 211, which closes with Karl Ove Knausgaard’s Letter from Österlen and this final paragraph:

But the feeling of the summoned by the thought would not come. No sense of the depth of history, no sense of being surrounded by the majesty of the past. If the moon is an eye, then it is the eye of the dead. You are also alone, it says, each one of you. You may believe in this, you may believe in that. It avails not, my children. Fight your fight, live your life, die your death.

When I went out late tonight to get cat food, I saw the rising moon, unearthily fat and yellowed, not yet past the far street’s trees. I was startled by her size, with a sudden memory of von Trier’s Melancholia. For once I did not take my phone, so there is no record of what I saw. Not that it could be captured.


I haven’t written for a while and I reorganized my writing desk, moving it into our bedroom. Giving Søren his own room to sleep in, he is now by himself for the first time since his birth, though we bring him into our bed when my wife turns in for the night. He cries in the dark until we comfort him. In truth, we never outgrow that desire. It’s always dark, even if there are luminescent stars and a moon upon the bedroom wall.

When he sees it, often in the afternoon sky, Søren waves and shouts “Hi moon!” Søren loves the moon, that eye of the dead.

I needed to write something. So, this is it. Wet bones pressed against sore tendons in brown paper, unsure if they’ll stick.


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By Burke
Bleak Theology A post-punk counterweight to joy.


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